The Philomath High School volleyball team remained unbeaten in match play with a couple of wins on Saturday afternoon at the Sisters Invitational but a season-ending injury to junior outside hitter Clara Stanley overshadowed the performance.
“The team struggled to stay level-headed during pool play,” PHS coach Autumn Hilberg said with Stanley’s injury occurring in the Warriors’ first appearance on the court. “As thoughts were on Clara and who might be the next to step into that role, freshman Shaylee May made the most of her time on the court filling in for Stanley.”
May, a 5-foot-6 freshman, finished the day with 13 kills.
The 20-school tournament opened with pool play during the morning and early afternoon hours — those results don’t go on a team’s win-loss record. In bracket play, Philomath was matched up against Madras and Cottage Grove and the Warriors came away with victories in both.
Philomath was pushed to a final and deciding set for the first time this season against the White Buffaloes but the Warriors pulled it out, 25-21, 23-25, 15-8. In the match against Cottage Grove, Philomath posted a 25-22, 25-22 victory.
Senior Abigail Brown had 31 kills and six blocks — both team highs — in the tournament. Freshman Ashleigh Brown recorded eight of the team’s 14 ace serves and 66 of the team’s 76 assists.
On defense, Hilberg said senior libero Kori Galvan commanded the back with an exceptional 2.3 serve-receive ratio and 42 digs.
Philomath will next get into Oregon West Conference play with a trip on Tuesday to Cascade. The Cougars are off to a 5-2 start this season, which also included an appearance at this weekend’s Sisters Invitational. Cascade was ranked No. 1 in the most-recent OSAAtoday coaches poll for Class 4A. Both of the team’s losses came to 3A opponents — No. 1 Sisters and No. 3 Valley Catholic.